Newscast for July 15, 2020: Masks, water, meetings

Today’s edition of the program is sponsored by Mead Oriental Rugs, located on 4th Street NE. Open by appointment, call 971-8077 to set up your visit. Mead Oriental Rugs. 

Governor Ralph Northam held his first press conference in three weeks Tuesday and stated there are currently no plans to move on with an additional phase in the Forward Virginia plan. That’s because there is an increasing number of positive COVID cases in eastern Virginia.

“The eastern region’s moving seven day average of new cases was around 60 in early June. Today that average is 346.”

Northam said the percent positive rate in eastern Virginia is 10.1 percent, which is causing concern that there is “substantial community spread.” The percentage in the Thomas Jefferson Health  District around Charlottesville is around eight percent. The governor said he is directing the Alcoholic Beverage Control and other agencies to step up enforcement of masks in indoor restaurants

“It’s just like the signs in so many store windows that say no shirt, no shoes, no service. Now it should be no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” 

Northam said he is directing alcohol sales to stop at 11 each night. More information from this press conference can be heard in the next installment of the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. 

The Greene County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing to get comment on proposed fee increases to help cover the cost of building a new reservoir. Mark B. Taylor is the Greene County administrator. 

“The water supply project that Greene County is undertaking is responding to a very real need. Our existing water system works pretty well in wet years, but our customer’s peak demand exceeds the capacity of our water plan. When it’s not wet, Greene County has problems.”

Taylor said Greene’s ability to support a growing population depends on building the White Run Reservoir, a plan approved in 2009 and updated in 2011. The Rapidan Service Authority increased has some fees already. The land for the reservoir has been completed, and now negotiations are underway for easements for water pipeline from the Rapidan River to the reservoir. (meeting presentation

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The Daily Progress is reporting that the Albemarle County School Board is preparing plans to begin the school year entirely online. More than five hundred teachers and school staff signed an open letter asking Superintendent Matt Haas to prepare for online learning given the potential risks of opening schools while positive cases increase locally. Last week, Haas presented a plan that would echo Charlottesville’s plan to have elementary students attend four days a week and middle and high school students. Read Katherine Knott’s story in today’s paper for more details

Today in government meetings, the Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets virtually at noon, and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets at one. The HAC will be presented with the findings of analysis and visualization on how AirBnB and other short-term rentals are affecting the housing market. The presentation was made by a group associated with SmartCville. The Board of Supervisors will talk about how human services agencies are funded, details on a $1.25 million grant program for businesses affected by COVID-19, and how to improve stream health. There will also be a presentation from Jaunt on how on-demand transit could help provide more options for people who don’t have a car, or who choose not to drive.  (agenda)

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